(CNN) — Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines said she was assaulted Thursday on the campus of San Francisco State University.
Gaines was at the school to speak about her views opposing the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports, according to the event announcement.
“I was physically assaulted by one person. I was struck twice, both times hitting my shoulder with the second strike grazing my face,” Gaines told CNN’s Natasha Chen. “The rest of the protestors just ambushed and cornered me before I was able to move out with the help of campus police.”
A video Gaines posted from the event showed her moving quickly while surrounded by security officers. A protester can be heard shouting “trans rights are human rights,” but the video is shaky and does not appear to show an assault.
“We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the situation. There were no arrests related to the event,” the university police department said in a statement. “The disruption occurred after the conclusion of the event which made it necessary for UPD officers to move the event speaker from the room to a different, safe location.”
University police did not immediately respond to an inquiry by CNN on the nature of “the disruption” and whether the investigation is related to the alleged assault.
Gaines tied transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for fifth place in the women’s 200-meter freestyle final at the 2022 NCAA swimming and diving championships and has been vocal about her opposition to the inclusion of trans women in women’s swimming.
“This is an appalling attack on free speech on a college campus,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter. “House Republicans stand with Riley Gaines and her brave and tireless efforts to protect women’s sports.”
PEN America, a literary and free expression advocacy organization, called the incident a “disaster.”
“Physical intimidation or violence is never an acceptable response to speech, no matter how hateful or controversial that speech may be,” said Kristen Shahverdian, PEN America’s senior manager in free expression and education.
“Universities are sites of discussion, debate, and disagreement,” Shahverdian added in a statement. “What happened at SFSU makes a mockery of the principles of free speech that allow higher education to function. This is unacceptable, and anathema to how a campus should operate.”
Gaines’ appearance organized by Turning Point USA
Gaines’ appearance was “booked by a recognized student organization,” university spokesperson Kent Bravo told CNN, and organized by conservative organization Turning Point USA.
Andrew Kolvet, a spokesperson for Turning Point USA, said he spoke to three people who were in the room Thursday night.
He said they told him Gaines spoke to a room of people during the event, including individuals who disagreed with her viewpoint. According to those present, Kolvet said the conversation was constructive and polite, and that the disruption happened as the event was wrapping up.
Kolvet was not present Thursday evening but was in communication with Gaines via text while she was brought by campus police into a computer room during the incident, where they remained locked inside while protestors were at the door.
Ultimately, the San Francisco Police Department sent officers to disperse the crowd and escort Gaines out, Kolvet said, adding that according to their exchanged messages, Gaines did not leave until close to midnight, he added.
CNN has reached out to San Francisco police for further details.
Turning Point USA has been active at the university for a couple of years, but this was the first semester the chapter was officially recognized as a student organization on campus, Kolvet said. The event featuring Gaines was the first event hosted by the group this semester. Another event is expected in a couple of weeks.
The post Former college swimmer says she was assaulted at an event opposing the inclusion of trans women in women’s sports appeared first on East Idaho News.